Malaria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of red blood cells damaged by Plasmodium falciparum protozoa, the cause of malaria. Healthy red blood cells are red, with the damaged ones brown. The disease is spread by bites from infected tropical mosquitoes (Anopheles sp.). The Plasmodia enter the liver and then the bloodstream, and invade red blood cells. Once inside, they begin to multiply, and the cell eventually bursts, releasing more Plasmodia into the blood. The lack of red blood cells leads to anaemia, and mis-shapen infected blood cells such as these can block blood vessels, leading to coma and death. Magnification: x3300 at 6x6cm size.
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